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Permit agency acts without permit

Phil Heatley MP
National Party Associate Energy Spokesman

05 July 2006

Permit agency acts without permit

National Party Associate Energy spokesman Phil Heatley is demanding to know why there are two rules for energy exploration in New Zealand.

“The Minister needs to explain why every other group doing seismic surveys, at the same time, in the same conditions, even using the same vessel, need to have permits, yet the Minister’s own department does not.”

He says Crown Minerals’ seismic surveys off the east coast of the North Island and the southeast coast of the South Island were done without the appropriate permits.

The Crown Minerals website, where all permitting data is publicly displayed, does not show the government agency obtained permits to carry out the work.

“If it’s good enough for private explorers, it should be good enough for Labour. They are the regulators; cutting corners like this sends a terrible message to the industry.

"Exploration enthusiasm has dwindled under Labour. Block offer uptake has been pitiful in recent years, and if the Government doesn't change the exploratory investment environment it will be pitiful for years to come," says Mr Heatley.

"While it's widely accepted that New Zealand has great potential for oil and gas production, most areas remain under-explored due to excessive red tape and extreme price barriers.

"Instead of cutting red tape for everyone, Crown Minerals is under so much pressure to get a result they have decided to start cutting corners. This isn't just sloppiness, this is having no regard for the law,” says Mr Heatley.


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